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Dispute Looms At UAL Over Living Wage

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dispute Looms At University Of Arts London In Admin Unit In Holborn As GMB Ballot Cleaners For Strike Action Over Living Wage

Without the cleaners these institutions would not function and yet they are treated with contempt by university management simply by the fact they are paid poverty wages says GMB.

GMB, the union for support staff in further and higher education, is organizing an official strike ballot for cleaners at the University of Arts London (UAL) in a dispute in a pay claim for a London living wage of £8:80 an hour.

The cleaners to be balloted are employed by cleaning contractor Office and General at the central administration unit at 272 High Holborn, London. They are now paid the minimum wage of £6:31 an hour.

Office and General has 2,500 employees working for 800 customers including financial institutions, local and national government, universities, and other corporate bodies. It has offices in London, Leatherhead and Wolverhampton.

There has been a long running campaign by GMB members alongside UAL students to secure a pay rise of £2.49 per hour to move them onto a London living wage of £8:80 an hour.

Nigel Carrington vice chancellor at the University has so far ignored the campaign. He has given no guarantee that the University will increase funds for the contract to allow the employer to pay the living wage.

So the next step in this campaign is for GMB members to be balloted for strike action. This will escalate the dispute to ensure the lowest paid workers at the university receive a pay rise which enables them to have a decent standard of living.

Nadine Houghton, GMB regional organiser said; “At a time when universities are able to charge students up to £9,000 a year and vice chancellors have seen their pay soar in to the hundreds of thousands it is only right that some of the lowest paid workers in these institutions see their pay rise to that of a living wage.

Without the cleaners these institutions would not function and yet they are treated with contempt by university management simply by the fact they are paid poverty wages.

In 2011 Nigel Carrington was earning £234,600. How can he justify staff at his university receiving a poverty wage when he earns more than the Prime Minister.

A living wage is a simple moral argument that says a decent days work for a decent days pay, any university that is not adhering to this simple principle should be ashamed.

GMB is balloting members in the hope that the university will see sense and work with the contractor to increase the funds of the contract to enable Office and General to be able to pay their staff the living wage.

We know that where GMB is organised and where our members are prepared to fight, we can win improvements that give workers an improved quality of life.

End

Contact: Nadine Houghton on 07714 239 227 or 0208 303 3407 or GMB press office 07921 289880

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